My heart goes out

I was heartbroken to hear about the recent terrorist attack in Manchester, England. Condolences, love and sympathy to the victims and families. These kinds of attacks are so frustrating—they’re so sad, and one wants to do whatever possible to help, but it’s further frustrating because there’s the nagging feeling that these crimes are done for attention—and a crime done for attention deserves nothing more than to be ignored. But something like this can’t, in good conscience, be ignored. So the sadness and frustration are accompanied by the grotesque feeling of being manipulated.

It’s horrific that attacks like this one, or the attack last year at the nightclub in Orlando, or at the Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris in 2015, so often seem to be directed at music events. Music is an activity that people share—something that bonds communities. Music is like an electrical current for imagination, possibility, shared experiences and real-life magic.

I’ve never been to Manchester, but as a devotee of punk and post-punk, I have great affection for some of the city’s musical legacy—like the Buzzcocks, Joy Division, the Fall and the Smiths. Music is sacred to me, and Manchester is a sacred city for music. (I’m sure a lot of stateside soccer fans feel similarly about the city’s footy legacy.)

But the worst thing about this particular attack is that it was directed at an Ariana Grande concert—a singer whose fan base is largely teen and preteen girls. This was a deliberate terrorist attack on young women and children. One of the first victims identified was an 8-year-old girl.

This was likely her first ever concert—her first opportunity to share in a community of her own choosing, to feel some of that current of real-life magic.

There are no other words.